Date A Live - Volume 6 - Chapter 4
Chapter 4: Music
’’------Starting from now, we will commence the 52nd, Tenguu city's senior high school union festival, the Tennou Festival!’’
At the same time the executive committee leader's declaration coming from the speaker installed on the roof, the whole exhibition hall was covered with claps and cheers.
September 23rd, Saturday. The start of Tenguu city's high school students'long-awaited Tennou Festival.
Near the front entrance was Hall 1, Hall 2 had booths related to food and drinks as its main, Hall 3 was deep inside and Hall 4 was filled with simple attractions like research publications and haunted houses.
Shidou was currently in Hall 2. It was Raizen highschool's important location for victory, the food and drink base.
But, Shidou who was supposed to be in that important location was right now placing both his hands on the grounds while releasing a dark atmosphere coming out from his body.
The reason was something very simple.
Shidou raised his head tiredly, and looked around his nearby surroundings. His surroundings were filled with refreshment booths set up. Takoyaki, crepe, and the famous minced cutlet.
But, Shidou and the Raizen high school group's absolute winning plan was not something that simple.
Shidou turned his head around and faced towards the signboard placed behind him.
’’Maid Café(☆) Raizen’’
After that merciless title was pondered inside his head, he then lowered his sights. Over there was,
’’Ooouu! It's frilly!’’
Tohka who was smiling while pinching on the hem of the apron with many frills attached on it,
’’Pu,kuku............Shi,Shidou, you, look quite good as a girl’’
’’Defeat. Yuzuru can't stop from laughing’’
They leaked giggles after looking at Shidou, he saw Kaguya and Yuzuru wearing the same outfit as Tohka.
After reconfirming that, Shidou lowered his sights even further. He looked at his clothes again.
---Tohka, and the Yamai sisters have the exact same clothing design.
On top of a dark blue long dress with a tint of black as a neutral color on it, was a pure white apron with an excessive amount of frills. Incidentally on their heads, they were also wearing a cute headdress with frills decorated on it.
To put it in one word, this is the maid-san style that nothing can top.
A girl's school uniform was probably the same but, as expected, Shidou had never thought the day would come when he would have to cosplay as a maid-san.
He felt an important part of his man's heart was tainted and once again dropped his shoulders.
And, on top of Shidou's shoulder, *pon*, a gentle hand was placed on it.-------it was Ai (Maid-san version). Behind her, he saw Mai and Mii wearing the same outfit.
’’What's wrong poster girl. Hora, it's almost time for the customers to come so get into shape’’
After saying that, she made her thumb stand up. Shidou stood up on the spot tiredly.
’’............err, this Maid café’’
’’Aah. It's nice right? We decided this is the only way to win against Rindouji’’
’’No, rather...............it's amazing you got permission for this’’
Although the scale of the Tennou festival is huge, in the end it is still a high school festival. It does look unrestrained but it unexpectedly has a lot of regulations. If it is judged as [Not appropriate for students], originally the whole thing isn't even supposed to get permission. On that point, this type of questionable customer service shop line was supposed to fall under that category.
They probably know about these points manifold;she made an evil face while shrugging her shoulders.
’’That's why image manipulation was a lot of trouble--. Since we submitted hostess at first’’
Shidou spurt out in reflex. Ai Mai and Mii started laughing.
’’We got scolded badly that time’’
’’Yeah Yeah. But thanks to that, the main Maid cafégot through’’
’’Well actually, I wanted the skirt a little shorter though’’
While saying that, Mii went beyond Shidou's skirt and draws a line along his butt. Shidou's face turned blue and he instinctively pushed his skirt down. Looking at that, Ai Mai and Mii laughed again.
’’Well, Shiori-chan and other stage members go and stand at the entrance and become our star attraction. The hall staff are seriously thinking about how to serve the customers so rest assured and call them in’’
’’Yeah Yeah. We're counting on you girls to be as showy as possible. In a spirit that can make a line!’’
’’Un Un, if a day where an innocent and peerless beautiful girl, twins with different type and a tall timid type comes, then the guys that won't be lured in would be either a mature lady lover or a homose*ual’’
He was categorised as a timid type before he knew it. He made a wry smile in a complex mood.
And, at that moment, Shidou [Hnn?] tilted his head.
’’Speaking of which............I wonder what happened to Origami-san?’’
Yes. Although all the other stage members were together being a maid-san, Origami was the only one not there.
’’Hnnn? Tobiichi-san? Now that I think about it, I haven't seen her since morning’’
’’Although her assigned spot was supposed to be the maid cafébut.........’’
’’It's not that day right--?’’
When Mii said that, 3 of them *ahaha* laughed. Shidou didn't know what reaction to take and made a awkward smile.
’’Well, she should come soon. We won't complain as long as she makes it to the stage’’
’’I-I guess so............’’
The same time as Shidou answered her while scratching his cheeks, they could hear a large number of footsteps coming from the front entrance. It would seem, the customers...............rather the [Goshuujin-sama[6D 1] ]s and [Ojou-sama[6D 2]]s have arrived.
’’Now then, we are counting on you here-----!’’
’’We will call you if it's time----’’
’’Ah---, everyone, we are leaving this place to Shiori-chan so, listen to orders properly okay---’’
After saying that, Ai Mai and Mii withdrew into the shop.
The ones left in front of the shop were Shidou, Tohka, the Yamai sisters, and around 10 other maid-san from each class who were best in attracting customers in their class. Every one of them was looking at Shidou who was appointed as the customer attracting captain just a moment ago.
After Shidou let sweat run down his cheeks while making a troubled face, *Cohon* he made a cough.
’’Er, for now, everyone please do your best’’
Replying to Shidou's voice, the maid-sans saluted at the same time. It was a pretty greeting with their hands joined properly in front. It looks like they were properly trained for this or that. ......well, there were people like Tohka and the Yamai sisters who raised their hands with a [Oh---!].
In any case, the battle has begun. The customers with pamphlets in their hands started entering one after another.
There were various types of customers. People who appear to be the students'family members, students who have no work now, college students from around the neighborhood with the clear intention to hit on girls, and middle-school students who were deciding which school should they advance to were spotted. Within these groups, there were fan members wearing happi coats with the word [Izayoi Miku bodyguards] embroidered on the back. It looks like they heard of the reports that the phantom idol was going to stand on stage.
Simultaneously, the fierce customer-attracting battle commenced. The sound of cheerful voices echoed from left and right and the exhibition hall was filled with liveliness immediately.
’’Come now, enter, it's fun! It's delicious!’’
’’Kuku............from this way onwards, it's the iron pot of hell. Can you normal people stand it?’’
’’Bulletin. This is the menu calling system’’
On the right side of the maid café's entrance, there was Tohka (Although it wasn't really maid-like) raising her voice, on the left side, Kaguya was saying words that were either for attracting customers or repelling them, and right beside her, Yuzuru was carrying a placard with the menu written on it. Probably because of these three, people started entering the maid caféone after another.
’’Oooh...............Isn't this a success’’
Even when compared with the other shops, it was quite a satisfactory beginning. At the very least inside the shops visible from Shidou's position, he could not see any other place that had as many people accumulating as the maid café.
’’...............Looks like things are going great, Shin’’ Wondering how much time had passed since it began, he heard a sleepy voice coming from in front.
He was familiar with that voice. <Ratatoskr>'s analyst official, Shidou's class's assistant homeroom teacher - Murasame Reine.
’’Aah, Reine-san you came-------’’
And, when Shidou turned over to her normally----------he froze right there just like that.
Over there was Reine as he predicted. Until there was okay. ...............but, that Reine brought one girl wearing a straw hat on her head, if he added that, then things will change here.
Yoshino blushed, and averted her sight as if she'd seen something she should not see.
After that, the puppet [Yoshinon] worn on her left hand, *clatter**clatter* shook its head while letting out a high-pitched laugh.
’’’’Yahahaha, is that perhaps Shidou-kun? It really suits you--. Why don't you just wear the top and take the bottom. There's demand for that you know--?’’’’
When Shidou called her name in a blurry voice, Yoshino replied back.
It's true that, Shidou himself invited Yoshino the other day. It was nothing strange at all.
But, it looks like she was not told about the matters regarding the cross-dressing. Yoshino awkwardly returned her sight to him and Shidou's whole body starting from the top.
After she said that, she made an awkward smile towards him. Shidou turned around and squatted down, covering the back of his head with the menu list he was holding on to.
’’Aaah! Stop! Don't talk to me with those kind words! Don't look at the stained me!’’
In front of everyone's standpoint, he can't allow himself to stop using feminine words. Shidou shouted with a shriek-like voice.
Wondering why. Whether it's Tohka, Origami, or the Yamai sisters, he was not like that when he was seen cross-dressing by them during that time but, when he was seen by both of Yoshino's clear eyes, for some reason he was attacked by an illusion that he has done something very bad.
It was like, a vampire's body trembling when it is being shined on by sunlight. No, if that is all there is to it, then that example was still better. If a vampire is shined by sunlight, then it will become ash on the spot and vanish.
’’Ee,err, I am not...............’’
’’...............Listen here Yoshino. You should not misunderstand. Shin is engaging himself in a very lofty and proud work. It is by no means his hobby’’
Without a moment of delay, Reine's help came in. Yoshino opened her eyes in surprise.
’’I-is that so.........?’’
’’.........aah. He got used to cross-dressing recently, and the posture when he puts on lip gloss could only be seen as a girl but, it is by no means that he is doing it because he likes it’’
’’What are you putting in her head Reine-san!?’’
Unable to stand it anymore, he stood up and shouted. But, Reine tilted her head in wonder.
’’..................I was intending to help you......’’
Shidou dropped his shoulders. In reality, she was probably serious about that. He felt wicked instead.
...............rather, he wondered when he got skilled doing it. Shidou made a resolution to be cautious not to fall into the dark ways.
He took a deep breath to calm his heartbeat before looking back at Yoshino.
’’You're going to enter right? It's quite packed but, I think you can enter right now without lining up?’’
’’............well then, we will be intruding’’
After saying that, Reine took Yoshino and entered the maid café.
’’Err...............the stage, I am also looking forward, to it’’
After saying that, she made a fist with her right hand and showed him.
’’Ou, watch me. I'll do my best’’
After he said that, he patted on Yoshino's head through the straw hat. Yoshino twisted her body feeling a little embarrassed and ticklish but, Shidou could not see her expression because she was wearing the hat.
Yoshino made a quick bow and entered the maid café. Shidou saw her off while making a small smile.
He gained courage from somewhere unexpected. With this, he has to win no matter what happens.
A few minutes after Reine and Yoshino entered the café. The number of customers crossed over the shops capacity and by the time a line started to form, something noisy suddenly started happening nearby.
’’Did something happen?’’
Feeling strange, when he asked a maid nearby, the maid said [that.........] with a face filled with nervousness, and pointed toward the passageway to Hall 1.
Over there, a large crowd had formed. Naturally, it was not as though there were many people inside the exhibition hall but, that spot obviously has a different population density.
In a beat, Shidou found out about the identity of the group.
At the same time, the crowd split into left and right, and a girl wearing a school uniform with a composed air around her walked through the middle like Moses.
Around her, he could see a group of female high school students wearing sailor uniforms and with the same composed air. Looking closely, he saw photographers carrying television cameras chasing after her.
It looks like he wasn't mistaken. That is.
He called her name with a soft voice.
It was impossible for Shidou's voice to reach her but, Miku moved the sides of her eyebrows and noticed Shidou at the same time as he said that, She then closed in on the maid caféand stood in front of Shidou, *Nii* she then raised the corners of her lips.
’’Good morning, Shiori-san. Looks like it's very successful ’’
’’............Thank you. It can't be compared to your side though’’
Shidou who was surrounded by the crowd of people, replied that while somehow suppressing the uncalm feeling he was getting.
’’Fufu, it looks good on you---- that outfit. It's nice. When Shiori-san becomes mine, it would be interesting to have you wear that outfit forever’’
In order to infer the true meaning of Miku's remark, the people gathered around started making a commotion. It looks like the television cameras started taking photos of Miku and Shidou alternatively. ............how do you put it, it was uncalming.
After Miku turned her head irritatedly, she then directed her voice toward the television crew around them.
’’-----You're a bother. Please go somewhere else’’
The instant Miku said that, the crowd gathered around Miku immediately scattered away nearby. Not only the television crew, but also the students made to follow Miku also left, and finally Miku was the only one left there.
He twitched his shoulder a little. There was no mistake. This feeling............it's the same [Voice] he heard that time in Miku's house.
’’Fuu, I finally feel refreshed. I should have done this faster’’
He could not make a reference to Reiryoku here. Shidou let sweat flow down his cheeks while saying that.
’’...............so? what kind of business do you have here? Don't you think you're standing out too much for observing the enemy's movement?’’
’’’’It's not like that you know---I just, want to give an invitation’’
When Shidou tilted his head in suspicion, Miku [Yes---] replied back flat.
’’I thought of wanting to go on a date with Shiori-san a little’’
Shidou not understanding the meaning of what Miku said opened his eyes wide.
After repeating that word, Shidou immediately twitched his shoulders. If Tohka and the Yamai heard this conversation, he thought the situation will get even worse.
Fortunately, since they are separately attracting customers further up front than Shidou, it seems they did not notice the conversation he was having with Miku. He made a sigh of relief before returning his sights back to Miku.
’’Yes. We can't----?’’
Shidou thought about it for a little and then opened his mouth.
Inside the JGSDF Tenguu second garrison hangar, an unnatural silence filled the space.
Even though it isn't late at night yet, there are no signs of any mechanics or AST members at all. It was like--------someone cleared out the people in it with some kind of intention in mind.
Origami who has infiltrated through the unlocked back door, silently directed her eyes towards her targeted spot.
Her dry footsteps, echoed nearby even though she didn't want it.
Origami felt her heartbeat and that dry sound getting louder while making a quiet deep breath.
Her current outfit, was not the Raizen uniform neither is it the stage dress she was supposed to wear today, it was the AST basic equipment known as the black wiring suit. It was the magic armor worn by humans in order to oppose the Spirits. It was the battle clothing used to sharpen Origami's consciousness to its limits.
Although the Space quake alarm hadn't rung, that didn't mean it was practice either. The reason why Origami was wearing that was because of another existence.
While silent, she stopped her legs in front of a certain block in the hangar.
From what could be seen, all of the security had been cut off. With this, if anyone tries to infiltrate the hangar, and takes out a CR-unit, no one will notice.
It was such a perfect condition. Origami looked up at the unit soaring right in front of her.
After saying that, she moistens her throat with her saliva.
After hearing Ryouko's grand [monologue], Origami immediately started investigating Jessica's and her team's movements.
Nonetheless, it wasn't that much of an exaggerated thing. Putting it in words properly, it became necessary to do so.
When Origami asked, everyone in the team started muttering about the [monologue]. Even Mily who missed those words, called in later to complain and talk about the circumstances.
---hearing the general idea of the plan, Origami was horrified.
Leaving aside Tohka who was a Spirit, why was Shidou also being targeted. ............Origami held onto that question only for an instant.
That's because, Origami has an idea of what it is.
June. In front of Origami, Shidou showed <Efreet>'s recovery abilities.
A human that uses the power of a Spirit.
No----putting it correctly, probably, it should be a human that steals a Spirit's power.
Although she doesn't know the reason why Shidou has that power but............if that information is told to the DEM industries then, she would get why there is a capture entry for Shidou as a target.
And if he was captured by DEM industries, it was not hard to imagine what kind of treatment he would receive.
’’............won't let you’’
After Origami said that in a low voice, she made a step forward.
She looked towards the crystallization of human intelligence that is placed in front of her eyes------the combat Realizer.
If she were to use the CR-unit without permission, she would probably not escape disciplinary action this time. Most likely, she would be kicked out of the team after having her memories disposed of and will never be able to touch the Realizer ever again.
That would mean, it was the same as losing the method to get revenge on the Spirit who killed Origami's parents.
The moment that thought touched her head, Origami stopped for an instant.
But, she gritted the back of her teeth, and continued walking forward.
During that time in the school trip, even though Shidou was exposed to danger, her conscious was filled with a powerless feeling for not being able to do anything.
That time, Origami who doesn't have the Realiser, the CR-unit couldn't do anything at all.
But----this time it's different.
’’This time for sure............I will definitely save him’’
Even if she will be chased after by the AST for this act, she couldn't afford to have Shidou be in danger.
Losing both her parents, Origami can't let her last place of support for her heart be lost.
When she used her palms to touch the Unit's terminal, the verification started.
Together with the low sound of a running motor, the lump of metal turned into the strongest weapon.
’’Here, Shiori-san. Strawberry cream right?’’
Shidou made a bewildered nod before receiving the beautifully decorated crepe from Miku.
After Miku made a satisfied smile, she took a bite of the chocolate banana crepe she was holding in her other hand and made a very happy face. ’’Hnn~~,I can't stand this--. If this keeps up, it will turn into a shop ’’
While saying that, Miku swing her uniform skirt around while bending her body.
While looking at her like that, Shidou let one line of sweat droop down his cheeks.
’’...............What are you doing, me’’
’’Don't daydream. Isn't it convenient for the other side to invite you’’
When he said that, he could hear Kotori's voice coming from the incam in his right ear.
’’Even if the showdown is male or femalesettled on stage, we won't lose anything if we leave her affection level increased. If by any chance you beat Rindouji and Miku's affection drops, then you won't be able to seal her Reiryoku’’
’’Well, that's true but..............’’
While saying that, *pori**pori* he scratched his cheeks. Incidentally, needless to say whether he is male or female was already decided already but...............he stopped it from coming out from his mouth since he might be abused again.
Yes. Right now Shidou, left the maid-caféto Tohka and the rest and set out to have a festival date with Miku after being invited by her. It was a very weird feeling going around having fun with the opponent he was going to have a stage duel with but, Kotori's words were true. It's best to just quietly go out with Miku.
’’Don't make a mistake this time and say you hate Miku now’’
’’...............I get it’’
When Shidou was having a conversation with Kotori using a soft voice, Miku let out her voice thinking it was strange.
’’Aren't you going to eat----?’’
’’!, no............I'll eat it’’
He transported the crepe he was holding to his mouth in panic. The sweet taste of the fresh cream wrapped in thin batter and the sourness of the strawberry spread though his mouth. Probably because the batter was cooked properly, although it was simple, it's true that the result produced has a unfavorable comparison to those sold on the road.
’’Ufufu----, that's more important than anything’’
After Miku said that, in the next moment, she took a bite of Shidou's crepe.
’’Hnn----, this is delicious too. It's a good work----’’
While rubbing her cheeks, Miku said that in satisfaction.
Probably noticing Shidou's surprised face, *ahaha* she made a laugh while offering the chocolate banana crepe she was holding.
’’Here, we will be even with this’’
’’What are you hesitating for. Take a big bite, a big one’’
Pushed by Kotori, he took one bite of the crepe while being urged. .........it was delicious, but honestly speaking he couldn't get most of the taste.
’’Is it delicious---?’’
’’A,aah.........its delicious. ’’
’’Fufu, it's an indirect kiss---’’
Being told the word he was thinking about but was avoiding saying, Shidou spurt out in reflex. Although he somehow managed to stop the crepe inside his mouth, he coughed lightly.
’’I'm sorry, Shiori-san is pure---’’
Miku laughed while rubbing his back.
’’N-no......I'm okay. I'm just a little surprised’’
Shidou calmed his breathing and made a small nod.
After Miku made a kind smile after looking at Shidou in that state once more, she ate the chocolate banana crepe she held in her hand and pointed towards the assembly hall.
’’Well then, we don't have much time until the stage begins, let's walk around more’’
Miku pulled his hands quickly. Shidou shoved the remaining crepe into his mouth. He then pushed the wrapping paper left in his hands into his apron pocket and followed Miku.
And following Miku's heart, they passed the food and drink booths and headed towards the area with target practice booths and ghost houses lined up.
Midway, Shidou talked out towards Miku who was in front him.
’’Yes---? What is it, Shiori-san’’
’’Why is it, that you invited me at a time like this?’’
When Shidou asked, Miku send her sights to her back.
’’That's because, if today's results come out then won't Shiori-san become mine----. That's why, I thought of tasting the rare Shiori-san who hasn't become mine before that happens’’
It would seem inside of Miku, her victory was already a fixed case. Shidou clenched the back of his teeth and send Miku back a sharp glare.
’’Taking you at your words, today we seriously plan on beating Rindouji. Don't you think it would be best for your side to prepare yourselves?’’
’’Fufufu-----, will you be able to do it?’’
’’I'll have you keep your promise’’
’’I understand---. Shiori-san too, don't forget’’
Miku laughed, in a state where Shidou's words did not even become a significant pressure to her.
Even though they were preparing for the battle, she was in a relaxed manner which is very hard to believe. He somehow felt his mind was getting disordered, so Shidou scratched his head violently.
And, after walking for a while, Miku let out a soft voice.
’’Shiori-san Shiori-san, look at that. It's a ring toss. Let's go try it out’’
She said that and ahead where Miku's finger was pointing, there was a fair stall-like space. There were many goodies lined up on a red carpet.
’’Yes-----. Which one do you want----? I will take it for you----’’
’’Eh? Eh----........then, that one’’
Shidou quickly got lost by that question and, pointed at the cat doll placed relatively before him from his stand point.
’’Okay desu. Please leave it to me---’’
Miku showed a rolling up her sleeves posture while paying the female student beside her the money before receiving 3 plastic wheels.
She threw the first one together with a weird call. The wheel flew toward the day after tomorrow.
Not giving up, She threw the remaining two, as expected the wheel didn't even touch the goods and *Kara**Kara* fell on the ground. ............it was an astounding poor control.
’’Oh my----, this is quite hard’’
’’haha..............’’ ’’Shidou, what are you laughing for. If Miku can't, then you be the one to take it and give it to her’’
When Shidou made a dry laugh, his right ear's eardrum shook.
’’aah............hey Miku, if it's okay----’’
But, when Shidou was about to talk to her, Miku once again talked with the female student.
At first he thought she was going to try one more time but..........it was wrong, the word Miku told the female student was.
’’Please give me that cat doll’’
It was such a [request].
’’.........yes, please wait for a moment’’
The female student nodded with a blurred face, and took the doll on top of the carpet before giving it to Miku.
After Miku took it, she hand it out to Shidou while making a smile with her whole face.
’’Here you go, Shiori-san’’
’’.........no, what are you doing’’
When Shidou said that, Miku tilted her head as if she could not understand what Shidou said.
’’Was it not this? Then, I'll change it------’’
’’That's not it...........that not right, that kind of thing’’
’’eerr, Then what am I supposed to do?’’
In an expression that has no accusations of ill intent or good will able to be seen, Miku asked back at him. Shidou felt the same thing at Miku's house a few days ago;he felt a preposterous bad feeling.
’’............The goods, you have to throw the ring and get it properly’’
’’Eeh----, Then, What am I supposed to do if I can't get it----?’’
’’Well...........you have no choice but to give up’’
’’Eh, why is that?’’
’’Why...............that's because it's the rule. If you were to overlook that, then it'll be bad to the girls working on the Ring toss booth right?’’ Miku opened her eyes in surprise.
’’Bad? Isn't that girl happy for me to receive it and accept?’’
’’First of all, doesn't this mean I won't be able to give Shiori-san a present---’’
’’Just because of that, I can't receive that, after using such a method’’
Miku [Pu--] pouted her lips in dissatisfaction. Shidou made a troubled face and scratched his head.
This girl doesn't think her actions are bad. Following the desire to give Shidou the cat doll as a present, she only used the method which was natural for her to do so.
Maybe he was interposed by some time to think, the impression he had felt on Miku a few days ago has changed a little.
Yes------She was a little like Tohka.
Before having her Spirit powers sealed away, Tohka had no chance to come in contact with other humans other than the AST, she would attack Shidou and when she sees many people, she would try to eradicate them all.
But, right now she was fumbling around while somehow managing to be doing well with everyone.
In Miku's case, her problem was because she controls a human's freedom by using that [Voice].
’’It's okay-----. Since humans are my pawns and toys. Shiori-san doesn't have to mind that. Because Shiori-san is a special existence that I directly admit you know? The riffraff humans can do whatever they like’’
Miku said that with eyes that shows no worry and let out an unpleasant voice.
Shidou gripped his hands hard.
This girl, Izayoi Miku, is by no means a bad girl. The only thing was, because of her ability, her sense of value got twisted.
This will probably take time. It will also take effort. But that was also............the same as Tohka and the rest, it has enough chances for everyone to coexist together.
In order for that--------he has to seal her Reiryoku no matter what.
If he does not get her to stand on the same place with normal humans, if this keeps on, she will only continue seeing humans only as pawns or toys like this. That is just.............too sad.
’’Like I expected, I will win you...............in order to let you talk to [Humans]’’
’’With humans.....you say. I am already talking a lot with them? You sure say something weird---’’
’’You don't have to understand now. But, remember this. Humans aren't so obedient and convenient to become your pawn or toys’’
’’............what are you saying?’’
Hearing Shidou words, Miku made a scornful smile.
’’Humans are simple things. I can control them to do anything. Shiori-san too, its better you don't concern about it too much you know----? That is something I only use when I want something to the extent of caring for it but no way to get it’’
’’Hmph, don't look down on humans. If you think everything is going to go your way, you're going to end up tripping’’
Miku closed her eyes partly in interest.
’’Then, I'll let you try----’’
’’..................? What do you mean?’’
He asked while he frown his eyebrows in suspicion but, Miku didn't answer any more than that.
’’Ufufu-----, Then, although it is a little bit regretful but, let's end today's date here. I'll be waiting on stage---. -----------That's if Shiori-san stands on stage though’’
She then flicks the finger she used to touch her lips with, and after facing towards Shidou, she turned her heels around and left.
’’What was that.........’’
Shidou stared at her back and said it doubtfully.
---But, after a few minutes after that. He got to understand the true meaning of Miku's words.
The time was 2pm. In the waiting room backstage, the representatives of other famous schools started to gather one after another. In the waiting room, although according to that name, it has surprisingly a wide space of room even after all of the performers assembled. That was only natural;originally it was a small hall behind the stage, but it would seem it was opened for it to be used as a waiting room. As if to show the reality of that, musical instruments such as drum sets or keyboards arranged in the inner part of the room.
Shidou had the other members take over his job and carried his legs to the waiting room.
But, Shidou and Tohka were the only ones gathered in the small hall, and Ai Mai and Mii could not be seen no matter how long it took.
’’............seriously, what are those 3 doing............’’
He groaned while folding his arms and looked over at the clock. It already crossed 20mins after the gathering time. It should be time for the first stage performance to begin.
And what's more, that wasn't the only problem. Origami who was not seen from morning also, has not arrived to the spot. Even after he called her many times, it just won't connect as if there was no power in her phone.
’’Muu...........what's wrong with everyone?’’
Tohka tilts her head. After Shidou made a [I don't know] gesture by swinging his head, he then used the only for Shiori-chan usage decorated phone provided by Kotori, and called Ai.
After a few second of sound from his phone ringing, Ai's voice could be heard from the receiver.
’’! Yamabuki-san, where are you now? Hurry up and come here! I don't see Hazakura-san and Fujibakama-san too..................do you have any idea where they are?’’
’’Ah-----Mai and Mii? Then------’’
Coming from the other side of the receiver, Mai and Mii's voice could be heard.
’’What are you doing! The stage performance is about to start!?’’
When Shidou shouted, Ai and the rest [Hnn----] replied back lifelessly. ’’We're sorry but-----, we give up going out on the stage performance’’
From hearing the unexpected words suddenly, he unintentionally gasped.
’’Wh,why is that? Didn't all of us worked hard and practice for this!’’
’’eh----? That's because...............Miku Onee-sama, told us to stop it---’’
At the end of her words, Ai's phone line got cut.
The sounds of *beep* *beep* fruitlessly shook Shidou's eardrum.
’’shidou, What did Ai say?’’
Tohka asked in curiosity. Shidou somehow managed to squeeze out his shaking voice.
’’They said.........they are giving up, going on stage............’’
Shidou clenched his teeth tightly.
Most likely-------Ai Mai Mii were [requested] by Miku.
It was the [voice] that was enough to make Shidou's consciousness go into disarray even though he has the Spirit protection. If Miku were to whisper to them in close range, then it was impossible to those 3 normal humans to resist.
In an instant, he thought Origami was also caught by Miku's poisonous fangs but............if that's the case, then coming on the phone would be okay, and it would not explain the reason why she was gone from morning.
But whatever the reason. The situation is very grim. That's because 4 out of 6 members-----bass, keyboard, drummer, and most importantly the vocal has left. The only ones left were only the guitarist and the tambourine. There is no way they can make a proper musical performance this way.
’’Kuh, what on earth should I.............’’
And, when Shidou scratched his head while letting out a groaning-like voice, he could hear a happy laugh coming from the front direction.
Suddenly Miku who has changed into her stage costume, was standing there with a cheerful smile. Probably an image of a mermaid princess, the dress was tinged in a color that makes you think of a sea, and has accessories of designed shells scattered on it.
’’What's wrong-----? Your cute face will get ruined you know----?’’
He shouted in reflex but somehow controlled his anger.
Even if he blames Miku now, nothing will change. Even if he called Miku's action unfair, there was no way he could explain about her [Voice] filled with Reiryoku.
Miku probably knows that too. After she made a happy smile, she *spins* waving her skirt.
’’It's almost time for my stage performance. Please look carefully----’’
She said that, and walked away.
’’Guh............, that bastard.........’’
He gritted his teeth in regret, and glared at Miku's back.
But, it was already known that even if he did that, the situation wouldn't change for the better.
Tohka asked suspiciously. Shidou scratched his head and ignored it.
’’............let me think for a bit’’
After Shidou said that, he placed his hands on his chin as if to show he is thinking and walked towards the wall. He then used a soft voice and sends it towards the Incam on his right ear.
’’------Is there anything you want? Do you want help you loosen your nervousness before the stage performance?’’
Before long, he could hear Kotori's frivolous talk.
’’No...it's not that’’
Shidou briefly explained how, Ai Mai and Mii were fallen into Miku hands, and Origami has withdrawn from battle just before the real thing.
’’I see.........damn Miku, using such a sneaky method’’
Kotori made a long sigh before replying. He can't see Kotori from there but, he could easily imagine her shrugging her shoulders as if she given up.
’’It doesn't take even 2 hours before our turn. What on earth should I............’’
’’There's no choice. Let's overcome the vocal with the first lip sync plan’’
’’Is that okay...........’’
’’At least, I think its somewhat better than displaying Shidou's beautiful voice during the real deal’’
’’Well............that's true. But I didn't bring the tone generator’’
’’It's okay. We already slip in few members of our members for the operation. If it becomes Shidou's turn, just relax and match up with the music we broadcast’’
A sister that is ready in everything. Shidou put in his admiration and muttered that.
’’But, we are still short on members. Since I think Tohka can't play any other instrument............’’ ’’That's true.........fumu, even if the full team is impossible, 2 people could be arranged. We'll send in replacements so please join up with them’’
’’Replacements..................wait a second. Even if you send skilled people here, won't we be disqualified if they were found out not to be Raizen students?’’ ’’To be still worried even after I told you I will do something about it, Shidou sure has gotten great huh’’
Kotori snort as if she was scorning him, and said that. Since Shidou *Guu* sound didn't come out, he tried to say [scissors] but, he decided to shut himself up for now.
’’But even so, she did something to underestimate us. I have a mind to deal with her since the other side has this intention’’
And, after giving her instructions to Shidou, Kotori said something improper. Shidou had sweat ooze out his forehead.
’’O,oi. Didn't you say you weren't going to obstruct her’’
’’That was originally the plan but, honestly speaking if this goes on I can't say we are going to win for sure now. The one who started this was the other side, so we'll have you let us help out without hesitation’’
’’wai, don't use violent............’’
His hands were pulled from behind about the time he was about to reply Kotori, and Shidou's body direction changed. When he looked over, he found out it was Tohka's work.
’’Uoo? Wha,whats wrong Tohka’’
’’Umu, Miku's stage performance is about to start’’
Now that she mentions it, Shidou and Tohka were the only one inside the waiting room that was filled with performers just now. It would seems, everyone went to see the stage performance.
’’Since we're at it, why don't we look at the enemy's true strength. It will take a little more time for the replacements to reach. She'll probably just be out there groaning Un Un and didn't come up with any good plan’’
Kotori said that through the Incam
’’.........I guess so’’
After Shidou made a small nod, he exited the waiting room together with Tohka.
And after climbing up the long dark stairs, a road that looks like a cat walk was arranged parallel to the ceiling wall on the central stage.
There were staff members mixed over there and the performers that were in the waiting room just now could be seen.
’’Around here should be fine..............’’
’’Umu, special seats!’’
Tohka eyes innocently glittered. The stage performances they are about to see right now, is going to be a performance that exceeds any other and they were about to be forced to know about it but..................does she really not know that?
And, around that time, on the center of the stage that was illuminated, *Click**click*, blue stage lights were exposed in many directions.
Right in the middle, Miku held the mic near her mouth and let out her voice mixed with a quiet melody.
---In an instant.
*Zap*. A feeling like goosebumps ran across the surface of his body.
The next moment, the melody slowly turned lively, the light pouring down on the stage turned brighter------and the back dancers preparing in the back were exposed. Miku's swinging also turned very violent. And together with that, the tension in the hall slowly increased.
Shidou muttered that half dumbfounded.
That much------Shidou who practically has no interest in idols or whatever, has his consciousness taken away in an instant, that was how much Miku's stage performance was overwhelming.
Costume, dance, back dancers, act, on top of that it resulted in the audiences swinging their glow stick and raising their cheer, all of this was perfectly joined together and it made a perfect atmosphere.
If it is right now, he could understand a little of the feeling of fans that faints in lives. Wild enthusiasm. From the number of audiences in a row he can see, according to that word all of them were getting wild thanks to Miku's song, they were getting crazy.
The moment when that craziness was about to reach its peak, Shidou raised his eyebrows.
Most probably Tohka also, rather all of the humans in the central stage were probably making the same face.
That's because, when the song was about to come near the second part, the lights suddenly turned off and the stage turned completely dark.
No, that was not all. The song being broadcast from the big speakers also stopped at the same time when the lights turned off.
Inside this bizarre situation, a commotion spread in the audience seat.
However, within everyone who was confused, only Shidou opened his eyes wide at the possibility he thought of.
’’This is, don't tell me..........’’
Faster than Shidou calling out, Kotori replied back. ’’We fiddled with the hall's equipment for a bit. Well, we are going to restart it when things subdue moderately. And of course, if things get heated up again I'll turn it off again’’
Shidou scratched his cheeks. While being my sister, she sure thinks of heartless methods. It's true with this;it is possible to cause a result involving everyone to cool down from the hype. No matter how amazing the stage performance was, if it cannot be seen then there is no meaning to it. ---But.
Shidou lightly shook his throat, and once again send his sights back to the stage.
On the center of the completely dark stage, a dim light appeared.
Next, as if to control everyone's noisiness, a clear voice could be heard.
’’-----<Shadi. Al. Kai>!’’
At the same time with that voice, a pale light coiled about Miku's body------and made a dress of light.
Running along her body line as if it was coiling up her upper torso. Sleeves that have volume. A light bolero sash unfolded to wrap all of it together. And------a dazzling dress that has several layers of light frills lying upon it.
After all of that had manifested, a moon-shaped accessory glowed on Miku's hair.
Yes. That was, the real Miku he saw in the empty arena.
’’Don't tell me...............manifestation of AstralDress..........!? At a place like this!?’’
Kotori's voice hit his eardrums so loud that it hurts.
But that was a normal thing. AstralDress. An absolute shield and castle that protects the Spirit. A strengthen armor knitted by dense Reiryoku strings.
Manifesting it means, that the Spirit was ready for battle. Actually, the Spirits until now only wear their Astraldress's, when there is enemy presences that will harm them appear.
But, there was no way the audiences would understand what that outfit signifies. At the world that appeared in front of them, they don't think the scenery was strange, and inside of them there were some that perceived it as a performance that uses a lot of advanced technology. The cheers filled in the hall was increased by one fold.
’’---------Let's make this livelier---. The real thing starts here!!’’
Without using the mic, Miku's clear voice echoed throughout the hall.
And as if replying to that, the hall once again was swallowed into a whirlpool of madness.
From that point onwards, it was already Miku's world.
The speaker was dead. The lights were turned off. The amplifier can't be used if the mic can't.
Despite all that, Miku's musical performance, her voice, that appearance, spread throughout every corner of the hall.
There is no one in this hall that thinks the case just now was an accident. All of that-----was a performance. It was in order to make Miku more prominent. In order to make Miku's voice more impressive.
All of it was, to digest Miku's existence.
She was a perfect, until it was overwhelming------[idol].
---At the same time as Miku spread both her arms apart, the song was over.
The biggest cheer until now filled the hall.
’’-------Fufu, thank you very much’’
Miku wiped of the sweat on her forehead before, taking a bow. After she did that, this time a round of applause broke out and was congratulating Miku as she left the stage.
’’Umu, That was amazing!’’
Shidou silently placed his hands on his forehead, and Tohka expressed her carefree impression.
Even after Miku left, the round of applause did not stop for a while. Shidou and Tohka climbed down the stairs and returned back to the waiting room after going through the round of applause that was similar to the ground rumbling.
There was no one in the waiting room. Maybe the other performers were going to check out the next following stage performance............no, maybe, after seeing Miku's overwhelming stage performance, they might be dazed.
’’What's wrong, Shidou. If you're not in high spirits, then you won't be able to win even if it is something winnable you know?’’
He made a powerless smile. Tohka tilted her head not quite knowing what he meant.
No, what Tohka said was completely correct. No matter how magnificent the opponent's performance was, if he was swallowed into it then, it's another problem before the match.
But, no matter how much he tries to shake it off, the bad feeling won't clear away. Even though they made a substitute plan for the singing, but in the current situation where he does not know the identity of the replacements to fill in the hole Aii,Mai and Mii opened, it was no wonder he would worry-------
And, at that moment, when he thought the waiting room's door slowly opened, on top of Shidou's head who has his head hanging down, and heard a voice he heard somewhere before.
’’Kuku, aren't you making quite a gloomy face. It's like you got your legs captured by the dead’’
’’Disappointment. There is no ambition here. If that's the case, then it's like losing before the fight even began’’
As if he was flicked by their voices, Shidou immediately raised his head.
The ones standing over there were two girls wearing maid uniforms on their bodies.
Tohka opened her eyes wide in surprise and called both their names.
’’Both of you.........why are you two in a place like this’’
When Shidou asked them, both of them folded their arms.
’’Kuku, we heard it from Kotori. It looks like you are in trouble from not having enough members’’
’’Support. If it is okay with Shidou, would you leave that role to us?’’
’’Eh......? The,then, the replacements Kotori was talking about are............’’
When Shidou asked, both of them nodded perfectly in the same timing.
’’Yes, it's us. Kuku............you are able to borrow the power of us Yamais. Feel honored right?’’
’’Affirmative. Leave it to us’’
They said that and in a very confident manner took a hard to understand pose.
’’Wai,wait a sec both of you. Well, I thank you for the consideration but, even if you say it's that easy to join, there is no time left until the real thing you know? You girls haven't practiced either--------’’
Right in the middle of Shidou's sentence, Kaguya and Yuzuru looked at each other, and leisurely walked towards the instruments placed deep in the room. And then, Kaguya sat in front of the drum, while Yuzuru grabbed the bass.
In the next moment, both of them started performing without making any signals.
By reflex, he let out that voice.
To say it simply-----both of their performances, were incredibly good.
Passionate and yet powerful while not losing harmony. It was a melody of drums that carves a rhythm that leads everybody, and a bass played fluently due to flowing-like fingering.
Even to an amateur's ears, intenseness could be easily understood. It was a jam session to the level that if there were someone from the entertainment production here, they would immediately hand their business card to them.
’’Well......that's about it’’
After finishing the performance, both of them walk closer and exchanged a high five.
’’Wh,why are you so good, both of you’’
When he asked, Kaguya and Yuzuru glanced at each other before lifting the side of their lips.
’’Kuku............Don't belittle me human. A match like this, we already finished it up’’
’’Confirm. It's true we did that on contest Number 72 [Storm calling drum battle] and, [Best bassist award battle. Incidentally Kaguya won the first one while Yuzuru won the latter one’’
When she said that, Shidou remembered something.
Now that he thinks about it, both Kaguya and Yuzuru a long time ago before meeting Shidou, both of them had repeated many contests. He heard they got tired of only fistfights and decided to try various types of matches but............to think something like this was also included.
’’.........hey, Shidou. Thanks to you, both of us can be together’’
’’Petition. This time by all means, let Yuzuru and Kaguya save you’’
Kaguya and Yuzuru said to him.
Naturally, Miku was a formidable enemy. Adding on, Miku fans were filling the hall. After finishing such a perfect performance, she was not an easy opponent that will let them snatch away her win that easily.
But-------Shidou swallowed his saliva
After taking Kaguya and Yuzuru's hand respectively, he immediately lifted his face.
After turning her eyeballs to the lower left while giving an order inside her head, a small number was projected on her retina. 14:55-----------there are 5 more minute before the operation starts.
Jessica Bayley who was floating in the air of Tenguu Square, *Perori* licked her lips.
’’Well then............it's about time ne. Everyone, are you ready?’’
She heard the voices of her subordinates from the headset all at once. Jessica nodded in satisfaction.
Right now deployed in the sky above Tenguu Square, there were 10 members in the 3rd battle team with Jessica included, and 20 remote control war doll <Bandersnatch>s, an extremely extravagant line up.
What's more, right now on Jessica and the group's bodies, starting from a 10.5cm laser gun <Merry ram>, the micro-missile pod <Twin cluster>, and a Laser edge built-in single element cutter <King call>, they were wearing DEM industries'latest equipment, all of them not yet distributed to any other countries.
No matter how much the opponent is the AAA rank <Princess>, there is no way she could handle being showered by all this concentrated fire.
*Nii* Jessica made a broad smile, and looked down toward Tenguu Square's eastern block spread out before her eyes.
After a few minutes, the target Yatogami Tohka will stand on the central stage.
First off, they will destroy the ceiling of the central stage from their current position, then the dispatch team <Bandersnatch>s will infiltrate and seize the target.
They will then start their attack once again towards the target that was seized by the <Bandersnatch>s------ they will then injure the target first with damage before the target is captured, that was the plan.
Of course, Jessica wasn't someone who kills for pleasure. It was not like she does not feel any sympathy toward the considerable number of casualties that will appear from her own attacks.
But, that slight sentimental feeling was completely erased by the sweet sound of Westcott's orders which imply capturing the spirits is for the greater good. Right now, Jessica only recognizes the stage audience as a group of potatoes or pumpkins.
And then. The buzzer rang on the headset. Time 1500. It was time to start the operation.
’’------well then, it's time. Adeptus 4 to 12 move to the designated spot. Prepare for attack. <Bandersnatch>s also get ready. 20 units below Outer 1, prepare to infiltrate.
The same reply as just now echoed, and the fully equipped wizards and <Bandersnatch>s followed Jessica's orders and deployed.
’’Well then......let the party begin’’
After saying that, Jessica pointed her laser gun toward the Tenguu Square central stage.
At the same time, 15000 meters above Tenguu Square. In the bridge of <Fraxinus>the airship <Ratatoskr>uses, a loud alarm rang.
’’What on earth is the problem!’’
Kotori who was sitting in the commander's seat raised her eyebrows at the sudden alarm and brought her eyes to the monitor spread out in front of her. But, there were no particularly strange changes happening there. Miku's mind parameters shown on the side monitor were also not showing any big changes that could be seen,
’’Re,Reading in the radar! Above Tenguu Square, there are readings thought to be AST around 20...............30!’’
’’What did you say.........!?’’
Hearing the crew's report, Kotori's face distorted further.
Simultaneously, the main monitor showing the image of Shidou and the group was immediately switched to images of the sky.
There were 10 wizards wearing exaggerated CR-units around their whole body, and 20 strange machine dolls, all of them floating above and looking down towards the Tenguu Square central stage.
’’These guys are............’’
After looking at them, Kotori bit the chupa chups she was licking on.
Clearly not a Japanese team. And the month before the last, it was the unmanned soldiers <Bandersnatch>that appeared when Shidou and the rest were on their school trip. No matter how you look at it, it wasn't the formation of the normal AST.
No--------before that, it was currently usual time where the SpaceQuake alarm has not rung. Naturally the residents in the vicinity were not evacuated to the shelter............far from that, they were gathered all in one place due to the Tennou Festival. Thinking rationally, the reality of them wearing the secret technology CR-units and appearing was impossible by itself.
’’People from DEM..........? Even if it is true, why at a timing like............’’
Kotori, rang her throat with the words possible thought swirling in her head.
’’Don't tell me............’’
She confirmed the place once again. Tenguu Square. Just above the large scale convention Centre used to hold the Tennou Festival.---------Tohka, Yoshino, Yamai sisters and Miku. It was an area with 5 spirits gathered. If by any chance, this information was gained by DEM...............
It was a stupid imagination thought to be impossible normally. If a battle took place there, it was not hard to imagine a large number of casualties appearing. Even if they were restrained by the scruff of their necks by DEM, it was unthinkable that the Japan Ground-Self Defense Force would allow something like that.
But, it was also true;there were no other thinkable targets other than those girls.
’’Commander, what should we do’’
’’............We can't leave them alone right?’’
Even though she said that, in their current circumstances the number of actions they could take were limited. They can't fire cannon attacks as long as Tenguu Square was below them, and hurling the <Yggd Folium>to sweep through that number was just too hard.
Probably having guessed Kotori's thoughts, Kannazuki quietly let his voice out.
’’If it is okay with you, should I go out’’
’’.........There's no choice. I'm counting------’’
And, the moment Kotori was about to finish her sentence. The alarm in the bridge once again rang.
’’!? What's it this time!’’
’’One more above Tenguu Square sky, a huge reading appeared! Thi,this is------’’
At the same time as the crew's confusion, the monitor switched and the owner of the new reading appeared.
’’Wha.........don't tell me, that's............’’
Looking at that, Kotori gulped.
---The moment she was about to pull the trigger. At the same time as a shine appeared from the sky in front, the alarm showing a heat signal approaching rang from the headset and Jessica took an emergency evasion.
The spot Jessica was at just now was passed through by a strong torrent of Maryoku. It seems one <Bandersnatch>unit got caught in it and had its upper half of its body blown away.
At that ridiculous power, her face turned pale by reflex.
Even though it has a lower precision than a wizard, there was a Territory laid out around the surroundings of the <Bandersnatch>'s whole body. Even though it didn't have time to use its defense specialties, something like piercing through that invisible wall like paper was something thought to be impossible by common sense.
’’Wha, what's this!’’
’’Hu, huge energy reading coming from the front!’’
’’It......is not a spirit. It's the reading of generated Maryoku! Thi, this is.........don't tell me-----------’’
Coming from the gap in the clouds spread out before her, that appeared.
---That was a tank, or else something like an unusual castle-like shaped weapon.
It was equipped with 2 cannons that look like giant trees, that was how big those lumps of metal were. At the front, there was a high-output laser blade capable of evaporating before touching and slicing the target apart, and a boorish weapon container used to store many weapons was enshrined at the back.
And in the middle. As if it were an emblem, one wizard could be seen.
---An AST wizard from the Japan Ground-Self Defense Force. It was Master Sergeant Tobiichi Origami.
However, even after confirming a face she knows, Jessica's trembling wouldn't settle down.
’’Impossible-------Don't tell me............<White Licorice>......?’’
She let out her voice dumbfounded.
Jessica only saw that [monster] once in her homeland.
In order to single-handedly destroy the Spirit, how much on power was needed to do so-----
With that, it was the [Strongest Defect unit] built by the honest and simple development department, following the values calculated out from theoretical calculations from the big-headed intelligence department.
Since it cripples the test user by just moving it for 30 minutes, it was some kind of objet d'art others couldn't prepare and deployed as something to symbolize DEM's power, technology and humor.
It's true that, she received some reports.
There was an extremely stupid wizard that got restrained after failing to bring down a Spirit, even after finally taking out the <White Licorice>which was deployed to the Japan Ground-Self Defense Force in her own accord.
When she heard that, Jessica naturally laughed. That's because, it was an equipment that even a wizard from DEM can't properly make use of. It was okay for a rash and elated member of the AST to try using it but, that person fainted after the unit immediately reached operation limits without her achieving anything...............that's probably all of it Jessica thought.
But-----if that is the case, then the thing floating in front of Jessica right now was------
’’Why.........can you move <Licorice>.........!’’
Origami didn't reply and silently raised her chin.
At the same time, the 2 giant muzzles equipped on the left and right on the cannon cannisters were pointed towards Jessica and her team.
’’Kuh------Change of target! Prepare for counter attack!’’
After Jessica let out a shrill voice, she pointed her gun toward the <White Licorice>.
But, in the next instant, *Buun* Origami swing the blade unit with both her hands. When she did that, a light sword was released from there and got a direct hit on Jessica's prepared laser cannon.
There was no impact. No sparks was scattered. But Jessica raised her eyebrows from the sudden uncomfortable feeling.
Her right hand-----won't move.
When she looked over, her right hand was coiled with a light sash, and found out it was the reason why her actions were obstructed.
’’This kind of.........thing!’’
She made an order in her head and the Territory section enhanced. She then tried to shake off the light sash------but, at that time it was already too late, Origami once again pointed the Maryoku cannon towards Jessica. She operated the thrusters in panic and escaped from that spot. She was late by one beat, and the Maryoku light scratched Jessica's Territory.
’’Wha.........What are you all doing! Shoot her down! Hurry!’’
When Jessica shouted, it seemed her frozen subordinates finally returned to themselves. They deployed themselves to surround Origami, and next shot laser guns and missiles at her.
Amongst the shooting, one small missile strayed downwards and the small sound of an explosion echoed from direction of the Tenguu Square-----it was a structure that was going to have more big holes opened in it anyway. No one even cared. But, in order to shoot down the monster in front of them, they launched all of the ammo they had. Origami holding the giant <white Licorice>as the core, she was covered by smoke.
’’Stop, the shooting!’’
After a span 120 seconds of concentrated fire, Jessica raised her voice. Her subordinates and the <Bandersnatch>s stopped attacking.
It was a firing of the entire latest anti-spirit weapon they had from all directions at once. Even if the opponent is that <White Licorice>, there was no way it won't be unaffected. But------
The sound of her subordinates'confusion echoed. Jessica raised her eyebrows and brought her hands to the headset.
’’What on earth is wrong!?’’
’’A Territory not belonging to me was formed around my surroundings---------I-I can't move my body!’’
’’What did you say.........?’’
The moment she said that, the white smoke expanding in front of her was scattered to the surroundings as if a whirlwind were forming.
And coming from inside, all the weapon containers from behind opened and Origami who made several hundred anti-spirit warheads peek out appeared.
Even though she shouted, it was too late. Coming all at once from the weapon container, a large number of missiles was launched and was heading towards the wizards and <Bandersnatch>s who had their movements sealed.
The appearance of white smoke blowing around while warheads were launched.
---It looked like, licorice petals.
From the communicator equipped on the headset, she could hear the screams of her subordinates. They were probably shot down by the attack just now;some teammates and <Bandersnatch>s have smoke spewing from their equipment and were falling to the ground.
Taking a look at the sensor projected on her retina, their vital signs did not disappear, but it was probably impossible for them to return to the battle.
From the cannon attack just now, it looked like around half the whole team was shot down. After Jessica made a loud click with her tongue, she gave a mental command and a new communication line was opened.
’’-----It's an emergency situation! Requesting reinforcements!’’
But, the communication that was received after some time passed, suddenly had something unbelievable on it.
’’.........ahh---, this line currently is not in use. Since Kusakabe Ryouko cannot be even here due to orders from the higher up, please confirm the above transmission once more’’
Like that, Ryouko's obvious voice said that.
’’What are you joking around at a time like this! The subordinate at your place is on a rampage you know!?’’
However, Ryouko only repeated what she said before and did not respond back.
’’...This was by your instigation huh. Remember this. I will have this case turn into a problem’’
After Jessica said that resentfully, she then closed the line connecting to Ryouko and opened to another channel.
It was a method she didn't want to use but------there was no choice. It was better than the operation ending in failure.
’’This is Adeptus 3! It's an emergency! Requesting urgent reinforcements!’’
Jessica was avoiding incoming missiles while letting out a shrill voice.
DEM industries Japan branch office. She directed it to the place where Isaac Westcott was most likely at right now.
Echoes of cheers could be heard from the stage. While that happened, as if in agreement, his heartbeat was ringing like an alarm bell.
He moistened his throat which was dry from nervousness. While at it, he also took a deep breath. His heartbeat was set on not settling down. However that was only normal. That's because right now, Shidou was in the situation of waiting at the wing of the stage for his turn.
Incidentally, the clothes the band members was covered in right now was the same maid uniform from just now.
In reality, they had already prepared the costumes meant for the stage performance but, since Ai Mai and Mii holding onto them had withdrawn, there was no share for Kaguya and Yuzuru.-------but at that moment, he realized everyone was wearing the same outfit.
’’Well............speaking of costumes, this is a costume............right?’’
The jazz band performance from the previous school ended and everyone made a bow together. And for the second time, *clap**clap*the sound of applause echoed.
He took a glance behind. Over there was three people almost completely un-nervous: Tohka, Kaguya and Yuzuru.
’’Look at this Kaguya, Yuzuru. I was entrusted with this!’’
’’Hohou, Tohka's instrument is the Tambourinehonest bell rung to make tunes’’
’’Agree. Yuzuru thinks it suits you a lot. Not sarcastic’’
The previous performers left the stage and even after the staff set up the drum sets, it was still in this state. Shidou was a little envious about the steel mentally the Spirits have.
And, at that moment, he heard the sound of an alarm-like sound coming from the incam in his right ear.
’’Kotori? Did something happen?’’
When Shidou asked, after a moment of unnatural silence, Kotori replied back.
’’...............Nothing. Shidou, just focus on the stage performance’’
Incidentally, the <Ratatoskr>incam currently in Shidou's right ear, while a sound recording specialised ear monitor was in his left ear. It was an indispensable equipment to prevent the cheers from slipping in and making the sound unable to be heard but, since both his ears were covered;he felt his ears became a little distant.
’’Is that really true. You look quite nervous’’
’’Even if you say that............I can't help it. It's not like I am doing it on purpose’’
’’Should I tell you a good way to loosen that nervousness?’’
’’Write [幼女][6D 3] on your palm 3 times and eat it’’
’’Isn't it supposed to be [人][6D 4]!?’’
’’It isn't that different from human anyway. Shidou prefers that one more right?’’
’’Don't say things that will bring misunderstandings’’
’’Oh my, unsatisfied?....................then just go with [妹][6D 5]’’
’’Huh.........? What did you say?’’
For some reason, Kotori snorted unhappily.
And, as if to match up with that, the stage wing staff made a signal to Shidou and the group. It would seem they finished preparing the hall.
From the speaker installed on the stage, the announcement started broadcasting.
’’-----Next off, a band performance from the volunteers of the metropolitan Raizen high school’’
As if to respond to that, the sound of applause could be heard from the hall.
’’O, okay, let's go’’
After saying that, Shidou made a step forward. Tohka, Kaguya and Yuzuru also followed him.
From the dim stage wing, he came out to the stage where spot lights were shining ------
Shidou unintentionally swallowed his breath.
That time when he saw Miku on stage just now. And the time until now he was looking at the audience seat from the stage wing .------Both of those weird feelings were covering Shidou's whole body.
Inside that dark hall, the stage solely brimming with light. The completely filled audience seats. The flood of gazes.
All of that became one and as if it were gravity, it tangled itself around Shidou's hands and legs.
’’............I see, this is amazing’’
*lick* he licked his lips. It tasted a little like salt.
He rehearsed many times. There was also a time when he was made to sing along with the gathered <Ratatoskr>mechanic department members in order to get experience.
But------wrong. Clearly, it was wrong.
The atmosphere during the real deal. The real feeling of tension. That intimidating air stabbing blades into Shidou's soul mercilessly.
Shidou, made a small laugh.
It's true;this was his first time in his life standing on a big stage like this.
But, Shidou already knew about this atmosphere he should not have known before.
Tohka. Yoshino. Kurumi. Kotori. The Yamai sisters.
This was the atmosphere when he confronted a Spirit.
Extreme dates where a single mistake in choice could lead to his death. With that repeated many times, it looks like Shidou's heart has been trained somewhere along the way.
While holding the guitar, after Shidou stood in front of the mic stand in the center of the stage, he brought his sight to his back left and right.
To his right was Tohka. Left was Yuzuru. And right behind was Kaguya. All the members reached their designated spot and in order to respond to Shidou's gaze, they nodded.
Incidentally, there were mic stands placed in front of Tohka and Yuzuru too. Since there are parts of chorus and unisons inside the song, it seems alibis were prepared just in case.
After Shidou finished tuning, he once again exchanged glances and nods.
’’Kuku............alright, let's play this, the death melody that leads to the realm of the dead!’’
Kaguya said something dangerous while, *Clank**Clank, ringing the stick.
Matching that, Shidou started playing the guitar. Same thing from the left side, Yuzuru's shining bass skills, and from the right, *Shan**Shan* the sound of Tohka's tambourine could be heard.
A light musical accompaniment. Although the song was from a pro, the performance belongs to only Shidou and the group.
When they start playing, the remaining would be to follow accordingly to practice. The pick was running on the string as if it was dancing, and played the tone accordingly to his thoughts. The nervousness that was wrapping his whole body was slowly turning into an uplifting feeling.
But-------an abnormality occurred there.
In the middle of the performance, Shidou raised his eyebrows.
Even though the musical accompaniment finished-------the song, did not flow out.
The same time when Shidou felt that, the Kotori's panicked voice could be heard from the Incam.
’’Shidou! It's an emergency! A part of the Tenguu Square's electric wiring has been damaged by someone, the tone generator we prepared can't be used!’’
’’Wha-----The,then how on earth’’
’’You'll have to sing it naturally! The mic's switch is on right now!’’
’’Ha......no, no way, even if you say that suddenly-----------’’
The mic's howling echoed for a moment, and Shidou stopped his words. If he were to converse with Kotori more than this, his voice would be picked up by the mic and it will echo inside the whole hall.
But, during the time he was doing this, the performance was still going on.
Luckily, thanks to repetitive practice, Shidou's fingers was still somehow moving in contrary with the confusion in his head but, due to the unpredicted situation, the song tone completely did not come out.
At first the audience were joining in with the Shidou's group to make the rhythm but, it seems a part of them started to notice something was off. The audience in front was tilting their head in suspicion.
An incomparable strange nervousness tied itself to his body. His teeth roots cried. His legs shook. His sight was slowly getting blurry. I would rather make a flashy collapse. Even that thought scratched his mind. He was even aware that kind of thought was dangerous himself. From the sudden accident, instead of the song recovery, other minus images such as finishing this unsettled stage performance with other ideas started eroding his mind.
This kind of thought was no difference from an elementary student wishing a meteorite would fall onto the school because he didn't finish his homework. There is no productivity or possibility, wishing for a one-shot reversal are thoughts of destruction.
It's no use, it's no use. He said it so he could hear it in his head. If he stopped the performance here, it will absolutely be impossible to beat Miku. But, those thoughts accelerated Shidou's impatience, and further misted his memory. The song won't come out. His voice won't come out. Even his breathing was slowly turning shaky.
It was at that time.
---The song could be, heard.
For a moment, he thought the electrical wiring they prepared was restored and started broadcasting the song but--------wrong.
Compared to the one in his memory, the voice was completely different. Rather, this voice -------
Without moving the position of his face, he slowly turned his sight. And.
Shidou called that name with a soft voice enough not to be picked up by the mic.
Yes. Tohka standing at Shidou's right side was singing the song while shaking the tambourine rhythmically.
What's more, the thing that should be shocking was-------that song.
It was so good, that it was enough to fall in love unintentionally from hearing it.
No, to put it better words, [good] is probably the wrong way to put it. Loyal to the melody............it is definitely not that. Most likely, it was sung comprised with her own arrangements. Not only that, there were even mistakes in the lyrics too.
However, what should be the best way to put it. That voice, that song, they oddly uplift the hearts of the people listening to them.
At that moment, Shidou who was gazing at Tohka's expression, unintentionally opened his eyes wide.
On Tohka's face, the enthusiastic mood of the big stage, the hostility toward Miku, and even the sense of duty of being left with a big job too, could not be felt from it.
She only looked, like she was having fun.
To be able to have a musical performance with Shidou and the group, made her so unbearably happy and overjoyed that it turned [Sound] to [Fun].
---no, Shidou shook his head a little.
He had to make a good performance;he had to beat Miku no matter what, he didn't really put it in his mind since he continued practicing as if he was cornering himself but............now that he thinks about it, Tohka was always making that face during practice time.
Most likely, she tried to memorize the lyrics but ended up memorizing the wrong thing. When Shidou was in the middle of having fun with Origami's song, he remembered that although it was vague.
’’.....................ha, ha, ha’’
Shidou naturally laughed.
The strong pressure that was tangling his limbs until now disappeared as if it had been a lie. His fingers moved so lightly that he surprised himself. The moment he was conscious about that, Shidou rang the guitar strings the hardest until now.
It was not like he was showing the [Attracting techniques] he enclosed himself researching during middle school, nor did he suddenly awaken into rock.
---A musical performance following the textbook won't match Tohka's singing!
Simply, he only thought that.
Most likely, the song tune was completely chaos. That's probably true. If he was able to make a perfect arrangemenet from such a cramped performance method, then tomorrow Shidou would send a drop-out letter and go out to make a debut in the entertainment business.
But, if it's now.
If it's now, it's different.
That's because right now, Shidou wasn't alone............!
Kaguya and Yuzuru immediately scooped up Shidou's sudden rampage and perfectly followed the chaotic performance. Probably feeling there was a change in the melody, Tohka took a glance towards Shidou and the rest of the group and gave a dazzling smile.
In an instant------*beat*, his heart jumped.
It was not from the nervousness from just now. It's more-------
But, now was not the time to space such thoughts in his brain capacity.
The song also finished its first part, and entered the second half of the performance.
At that moment, inside Shidou's head, a secret desire appeared.
It was simple.
---I want to sing with Tohka.
On top of this big stage, I want to sing with Tohka!
Although Shidou does not have deadly tone deafness, it was not like he had the skill to sing that well. At the very least, they won't beat Miku like this, as far as Kotori cutting it down immediately, that was how skillful he was as a singer.
But, even so, unexpectedly it looks like he can't resist the sprouted bud of desire inside his heart.
At the same time with the second part starting, Shidou started singing and matched up with Tohka.
Tohka continued singing while looking at Shidou in surprise.
But, that was only in an instant. Tohka looked happier than just now and her voice started getting livelier.
As if to make it go to Tohka, he reverberated his throat. The tone that won't come out at all just now was spinning out of his mouth unconsciously.
While he was singing, Shidou had completely forgotten about the match with Miku.
His head was only being controlled by a simple fragment of his emotions.
......by the time he noticed this, the song was already over.
His shoulders suddenly shook. His whole body was full of sweat, so drenched as if he'd jumped into a pool.
And, Tohka came running towards him with a dazzling smile.
After he raised his hands as he was told, on it Tohka's hand *Pachin!* hit on it.
In that moment--------
Shidou's ear was shaken by a loud cheer and applause, so loud that the Incam and ear monitor were neglected.